Meet the Maker: James Green

My name is James Green and I’m an artist and printmaker based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. I specialise in linocut and screen-print and have been working
in these mediums for around sixteen years. Nine years ago I decided to give up my ‘proper’ job to concentrate on doing this full-time. My subjects
range from landscapes to UK wildlife to surreal donkey compositions and larger abstract works.

Describe your printmaking process.

Most print ideas will start out as a photograph I’ve taken, or a drawing, or sometimes a combination of both. I’ll simplify the image to where I think
it needs to be for a linocut. I’ll then transfer the image to the lino and cut away! For prints with more than one colour I will use separate printing
plates and trust my registration skills. I sometimes use my book press for printing, but other times I’ll use just the back of a dessert spoon. It
really depends on the nature and size of the print. I’ve also just bought an XCut (primarily for workshops and demonstrations) so I’ll be experimenting
with that soon!

How and where did you learn to print?

I taught myself. I studied art at university back in the early 90s but I never realised you could do printmaking (as daft as that sounds now). About sixteen
years ago I was lent some lino, tools and inks and I made a print of my cat. I was hooked straight away. I now teach workshops roughly once a month,
and love to see how people from different backgrounds approach creating prints.

Why printmaking?

I love the unpredictability of the medium, and the limitations that are inherent. They make you think much more about the marks you are making and the composition. I also love the craft of printmaking, the process of carving out the lino. I think I enjoy it as much as revealing the print. With screen-printing, I’m drawn to the way you can overlay colours and work at different scales without too much trouble, and also the surface of the prints.

Where do you work?

I have a studio at the top of my garden. I also use Sheffield Print Club for screen-printing.

Describe a typical day in your studio.

I’m not sure there is a typical day! I will either be planning a new design on paper, cutting a new linocut, or printing the edition. Aside from that I’ll
be packaging up orders, framing prints for upcoming shows/exhibitions or tidying up (my studio gets messy quite easily!).

How long have you been printmaking?

Sixteen years

What inspires you?

The landscapes of Yorkshire and North Wales, wildlife that I can see first-hand, lots of artists (Goya, Max Backmann, Egon Schiele, Picasso, Corita Kent), the seaside.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

Probably my Pfeil cutters.

What have you made that you are most proud of?

Perhaps my donkey prints. I have been making prints of donkeys for just over ten years now. Last year I was asked to put on an exhibition of my donkey prints at the Oriel Mostyn in Llandudno, as a kind of retrospective (called ‘Entering Donkey World’). Seeing them all there together made me feel very proud. Last year I also created a new range of prints which were very different from what I’d done previously. I made a lot of drawings of stones from beaches I’d visited around the UK. From these, I created these large abstract screen-prints (entitled ‘Stone Compositions’). It was a lot
of fun working in a very different, non-figurative style, and quite a shock for my brain working at about A1 size too.

Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

I sell online, mainly on Folksy, but also on Etsy too. I also sell to various galleries and art shops around the UK, and I also have a range of greeting cards published by Green Pebble. In addition, I take part in art fairs and festivals all over the UK throughout the year. I also co-organise Sheffield Print Fair, an annual event to help printmakers show and sell their work, and also show demonstrate their printing techniques.

What will we be seeing from you next?

I’m not really sure. I have quite a few events coming up, so I’m busy preparing for them, but I’m also planning some new prints. I’ve just finished a new donkey triptych and a print of a dog called ‘Woody’. I tend to post up about new prints, exhibitions and events on my blog and my newsletter too.

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Take your time and find the medium for you. I tried all sorts of things, most of which I didn’t really get on with. Book on a workshop or two and see what takes your fancy. I also think it is important for creative people to do what you enjoy, not what is currently in fashion. If your heart isn’t in it
you won’t last long.

james green – printworks



twitter: @jgprintworks

instagram: @jamesgreenprintworks

Want to join my mailing list for updates on prints, event and workshops?: Subscribe to James Green – Printworks Newsletter

Aluminium Foil Tape Printing

Aluminium Foil Tape is a fantastic material to add to your printmaking kit. Use it to make speedy collagraph plates to print through an etching press.
Take a look at The Curious Printmaker for some
beautiful examples of how this tape can be used. We’ve used foil tape in two different ways to create prints. Read on to see how:

We will be using mount board to make our plates.

Before you get into any of the messy parts, make a registration sheet. This is easily done by placing the printing paper onto a blank sheet of paper and
drawing around the edge.

Remove the printing paper and place the blank mount board plate into the centre. Decide where the image is to be printed and draw around the plate.
This way, we will be able to easily position the print and paper on the print bed. 

To make an embossed plate:

Cut a piece of tape a little longer than the plate. If the tape is narrower than the board, consider which direction would be best for the join lines
in the design. Carefully peel back the backing at one corner and stick it to the board. Peeling the backing as you go, smooth the tape down to cover
the plate.

Continue to cut and stick pieces of tape until the plate is covered. Trim the edges of the tape or fold around the edges of the plate. 

To emboss the plate, place the plate face up on the bed of an etching press. Position low relief objects on top of the plate. We do not want the objects
to be so high so that they damage the press. We have used dressmakers’ pins, string, thread and two different grades of sandpaper cut into strips. 

Carefully place a wad of newsprint on top of the plate and then cover with a board. We want to protect our blankets. We used an old cutting board that
is past its best. Remember that the indentations from the objects are likely to come out in the board too.

Cover with press blankets and put through the etching press. The sandwich of plate, boards and paper are quite high so you may need to relieve the pressure
a little here. 

Remove the objects to reveal the plate.

Hard objects like these pins will press deeply into the plate. Soft objects like this string will gently sculpt the surface of the foil. 

Sandpaper gives us varying textures. 

Before we begin inking we must soak our paper. Place the printing paper into a tray of water. We are using Snowdon 300gsm which soaks well and prints beautifully through the etching press. 

Scoop a little ink onto an inking plate. We are using Hawthorn Stay Open Inks in Turquoise mixed with a little Hawthorn Linseed Reducing Jelly.

Using a soft brush such as a child’s toothbrush, gently ink up the plate. 


Use a wad of scrim to polish the plate; working the ink into the embossed textures and wiping the excess ink from the surface.

Clean your hands. Use paper fingers (or folded pieces of card) to pick the soaking paper. Blot with blotting paper to remove excess water. 

Place the registration sheet onto the print bed. Place the plate on top and then the damp paper using the marks as a guide. 

Roll through the etching press on a fairly tight pressure. The heavily embossed areas have printed with a dark layer of ink. Any areas that are embossed
more heavily may print as a white shape as the paper will not be able to press into very deep areas. Experiment with different depths to produce varying

To make a raised plate:

 Layer low relief objects onto a piece of mount board. We are using thread and shapes cut from thin card. 

Cut pieces of foil tape a little longer than the plate. Carefully peel the backing off one corner and stick to the board. Peeling off the backing as you
go, press the tape down onto the plate. The tape should capture the objects beneath. Experiment with crumpling the tape as you go for even more texture.

Cover the whole board in tape and either trim the edges or fold them around the edges of the board. Use your fingers to press the tape tightly around the

We also used an etching needle to score lines into the plate. 

Once again, before we begin inking we must soak our paper.

Ink up the plate using a soft toothbrush…

…and wipe the plate with scrim. If we are not too careful, all of the foil will wipe clean so it is important not to be too vigorous here.

To make the most of our raised textures we can combine intaglio and relief inking. Now that our plate has been inked up intaglio, we can roll out a thin
layer of Hawthorn Stay Open Ink in Ultramarine (we have not added any Linseed Reducing Jelly).

Gently roll over the top of the plate. The raised areas will pick up the ink – this is a little like viscosity inking. 

Use a cloth or cotton bud to polish clean any areas that you wish to remain white. 

Place the plate on the print bed on top of the registration sheet. Place the blotted paper on top. 

Run the plate through the press to take a print. 


Here is our print without wiping the sky clean. 

We tried combining or intaglio inking with relief inking on our embossed plate. 

For this project you will need:

Meet the Maker: Gemma Dunn

I am a painter and printmaker from Salisbury, Wiltshire. I have a background in product design but my love of materials and traditional craftsmanship led
me to pursue a career in fine art. I am happiest outdoors and when I’m not occupied with my two young children I can usually be found working on something
in my studio or tending to our allotment.

Describe your printmaking process.

The majority of my current work is linocut, which is a very approachable low tech printmaking process. I develop my ideas with two main objectives: to
study the forms that are found in nature and to try and express the emotion of my response. I draw a lot. I combine work from my sketchbooks with photography
using layers and layers of tracing paper to add and refine elements until there is something that really excites me about the way it’s coming together.
The image is then transferred to the lino ready for carving using a couple of maverick transfer methods I developed along the way. The process of carving
always adds an element of surprise to the final image because it seems to me there are things that can only be expressed through the tools in the mark
making stage. Many of my linocuts are simply inked in prussian blue, making the most of their graphic quality without the starkness of black on white.
For coloured images, I like to refer back to my painting studies from life.

How and where did you learn to print?

My first experience of printmaking was at school with blunt tools and old, rock hard lino. It was not an instant love affair! Then in 2012 I came across
several vintage Indian wood blocks at a wood fair near Brighton. They were battered and I had no idea what to do with them, but they were so beautiful
I decided to take them home. Curiosity led me to investigate how they would have been used and so began my largely self-taught printmaking journey.
Books, online resources and a lot of trial and error have helped me along the way. But I am especially thankful to the generous artists and printmakers
who share their processes and materials in blogs and in online learning groups such as Linocut Friends (Facebook). This is partly why I also take the time to share my own printmaking discoveries.

Why printmaking?

I make art in many different media including printmaking, but recently I have gravitated more towards printmaking because it forces me to carefully consider
the design of an image. Poor decisions about value and composition have nowhere to hide. With the immediacy of sketching and painting, it is tempting
to be lazy about these things. It is too easy to fall in love with colour and my own ideas and just camp there. Printmaking takes me further in finding
the bare bones of how to communicate visually.

The other thing I love about printmaking is that it feels like total alchemy! The end result is very much a product of the twists and turns of the process
itself and the work therefore takes on a life of its own. It’s magical. Forcing me to slow down and trust the process I think has made me a better

Where do you work?

Mostly I work in my studio, but on a sunny afternoon I have been known to carve lino barefoot by the river! I like drawing from life and so a lot of the
initial stages of gathering ideas and imagery usually begins outdoors.

Describe a typical day in your studio.

I’m easily bored by routine so I’d say on the whole I try hard not to have a typical day in my studio! Some days my head is full of custom orders, packaging
things up, rushing to the post office, admin, ordering materials and prepping for workshops. I find these activities are incredibly draining, so no
matter how busy I am I have to allow myself days where the focus is on exploring my own ideas, slowing down with a bowl of homemade soup and fresh
sourdough bread, and zoning out with the chickens in their run. I also make time for creative play where I don’t worry about being efficient with my
materials or aim for any specific outcome. Most of my best work has its origins in these moments of freedom.

How long have you been printmaking?

I discovered the world of printmaking about 6 years ago. It’s been just over a year since I devoted my time and focus to linocut in particular. That transition
came around the time I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which was affecting my joints. In an act of defiance I picked up a large A3 sheet of
lino and began what I thought would be my last linocut…!

What inspires you?

The natural world is the finest piece of artwork imaginable. Whether you are looking at it on a microscopic or macro scale, it has wisdom echoing throughout
its design on so many levels. I believe it has the power and beauty to heal and restore and I think a lifetime spent discovering the treasure hidden
within is a life well spent.

I also spend a lot of time looking at other artists’ work. I am interested in many different disciplines and I find it fascinating seeing the world expressed
through another person’s eyes. Even if something is not to my taste, I enjoy finding what is great about it and what I can learn from their process.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

I love Caligo Safe Wash Inks.
As a painter, I really enjoy their proper range of artist pigments which feel familiar when mixing, plus they are so versatile and easy to clean up.

What have you made that you are most proud of?

Honestly, it’s not even a piece of art, it’s my studio!
I designed and built this space myself on a shoestring budget out of sheer necessity. Previously I was trying to work on a tiny kitchen table, but
curious little hands and messy family life were preventing me from growing my business as a practicing artist. I have worked incredibly hard, learning
everything from how to build a stud wall to plastering from YouTube videos. It has been paid for in part by selling my work and running workshops,
skip diving and bartering. It is finally in a state where I can start hosting workshops from home and I’m incredibly proud of the journey it’s taken
to get to this moment.

Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

New work is released for sale on my website in very small limited editions. My mailing list is given first pick. There is also a selection of my original hand printed linocuts and homewares on display at
Fisherton Mill in Salisbury. If you are local I’d highly recommend a visit to their award-winning gallery, cafe and artist studios.

I also post regularly on Facebook and Instagram  where you will find some video clips of the methods I use.

What will we be seeing from you next?

I am currently working on a series of linocuts delving further into some of the themes introduced in my previous work. They depict the flow of life that
comes through remaining connected – in family, in community, to our resources and in spirit. Being grounded in connection is the foundation on which
we can grow and thrive. If you would like to see them when they are first released in early 2019 you can join my mailing list.

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Create. Do it for the sheer joy of it, do it for yourself, do it because the creativity is fiery in your bones. But also make the time and effort to grow
in your skill because a lifetime of learning is the way to stay fresh and humble in what you are doing. You don’t need expensive tools and materials
as much as you need an attitude of perseverance. Start with what you have to hand.

Keep p to date with Gemma Dunn’s work:


Instagram: @gemmadunnart


Mailing List sign up form:


Heat Transfer Printing a Collage

Transfer printing is a quick and playful printmaking method. The dyes require no fixative – only heat! They can be mixed up and left in a covered pot to
use another day – they should keep indefinitely.

Pour 100ml of warm water into a pot.

Sprinkle 1tsp transfer dye onto the water. Use colours straight out of the pot to combine them to make your own shades. We particularly like a 50/50 mix
of Royal Blue and Lincoln Green. Make a pot for each dye colour you would like to use.

After five minutes, paint the dye onto paper. We use 80gsm copy paper as the heat will travel through it very easily. If you want the paper to wrinkle
less, you can use something a little more sturdy. 

You can paint flat colour or experiment with mark making. 

Leave the painted papers to dry. For really bold colours, repaint the papers with another layer and dye and leave to dry again. These papers can be used
at any time for heat transfer printing. 

When the papers are fully dry, cut them into shapes to begin constructing a collage. Use scissors or a scalpel and cutting mat. 

When you have cut out enough shapes you are ready to assemble the collage.  

Lay a piece of baking parchment onto a padded board or ironing board. Lay the fabric over the top. Transfer dyes need to be used with synthetic fabrics – polyester works very well, especially polyester
fleece or satin. 

Arrange the papers with the painted side down to the fabric. Remember that the shapes you place down first will be the top layer once printed. 

Carefully cover the collage with another sheet of baking parchment or a silicon sheet. Use a dry iron on the hottest setting to carefully heat up the print.
Move slowly over the fabric, trying to evenly cover the whole design. You can take a peek at your design by gently peeling up the baking paper to see
if the colour is strong enough. 

Lift off the baking parchment and the pieces of paper to reveal your print! The dye is now fixed and washable. 

You can choose to add more layers of colour by placing more shapes on top and ironing as you did before. 

The shapes can be used again to create another print but each time they will produce a paler colour. You can charge up the colour again by painting over
the top with a fresh layer and dye and leaving it to dry. 

For this project you will need:

  • Transfer Dyes
  • Measuring Jug
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Clean, empty pots
  • Paintbrush
  • Plain paper (we used 80gsm copy paper)
  • Scissors or scalpel and cutting mat
  • Synthetic fabric such as polyester
  • Iron
  • Baking parchment
  • Iron